As Danielle and I talked, we talked about the idea of finding her own voice (see chapter 5). We often teach girls to be nice, sometimes at the expense of their own peace of mind. There is a difference between being committed to kindness and being committed to pleasing others. Girls often don't know how to distinguish between the two.
This is where we can help. We can help girls learn to be aware of the feelings of another, without having to take responsibility for those feelings. Danielle is working on making her own decisions and being okay with disappointing others.
usually the disappointment of others has more to do with the one who is disappointed than with the one who does the disappointing. To help girls learn to act in ways that are kind and consistent with who they are and what God would want is to bring freedom to these girls whose goal is simply to please.
It is also helpful for girls to know that they don't have to be the best in every activity in which they participate. Because they have so many opportunities, and because it's their nature to want to please others, girls often believe they have to excel in every opportunity. It does a girl's heart good to know that you will love her just as much on the B team as the A team. A's are great on report cards, but not a prerequisite to her being valued. Help her see that who she is is not based on her performance—in any area. Encourage her when she succeeds and when she fails. Tell her you are proud of her when she makes a goal in soccer and when she misses the ball. Regardless of how she acts toward you, your daughter does want to please you, and because of that, you have a great deal to offer her in terms of what should dictate her value as a person.
Exercise also makes a tremendous difference in the stress level of girls. It touches on a variety of her needs at once. It keeps her in good health and can help her feel better about her body when it's in shape. Also, to have a physical outlet for stress, anxiety, and anger can help clear her mind. She is then able to focus with a little less pressure and a few more natural endorphins.
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